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Electronic Surveillance

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Employees are becoming concerned about the way their employers are monitoring them in the workplace. Employers are using electronic surveillance at the workplace to find out how the employees are working. According to Casilly and Draper (2002), readily available and inexpensive technology gives the employers a chance to monitor employees’ computers, it also allows them to track their Internet searches, observe the email that they send and receive and access files that are on their hard drive. This helps the employers to ensure that work is performed properly.

1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace

Employers should note that, employees expect to work with privacy because they believe that invasion of privacy affects their performance. Employees tend to feel insecure when working because it becomes hard to predict what is likely to happen next. Employees’ should, therefore, be treated with dignity, respect that they deserve and should not be exploited at any time. One of the areas that an employee expects privacy is telephone conversations.

Employers should realize that some conversations between the employees and other people be it clients or friends should always made to be private. This is because the employees also have a social life and some conversation may be sensitive even if they relate to work. The other issue that should be addressed is privacy of personal email addressed to the employees. It is necessary for employers to note that monitoring the employee does not necessarily have a positive effect on performance. Employees’ private life and matters should always be protected at all times regardless of the duties that they are expected to perform. Employees should not also interfere with employees’ email so long as they do not affect performance.

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The employers should also keep off the employees’ personal storage lockers. This is because they allocated the lockers to the employees so that they can use them hence the act of opening lockers is a crime. Employers’ should realize that invading people property is wrong because they can be accused in case of loss of personal items. This means that they can be held responsible of loss of items which is likely to cause the difference between the employer and employees. Employees’ privacy should not be restricted at any time because it creates an environment that is not conducive for good performance

2. In the office workplace there are typically two types of workspace, an open area, in which there are several desks and where conversations can be overhead, or an enclosed office, in which—when the door is closed—conversations cannot be heard and where one would expect virtually total privacy. Explain whether it makes a difference if an employee is in an open area or an enclosed office

An open area office is an office where e an employer rents an empty space and decided not to partition it (Simonds, 1998). On the other hand, enclosed office is an office that is partitioned, and everyone has his or her own room that has a door. It is important to note that the type of office makes a significant contribution to the performance of work.

The open area office is best for businesses who like carrying all their activities together. However, it is having its own disadvantages which affect performance. One of the reasons why these types of offices are not appropriate is because; chances of disruptions are exceptionally high. This happens especially when employees are performing different activities hence it is possible to find an employee concentrating on what another employee is doing. This causes a negative effect on the performance of individuals. An example of disruptions is telephone conversations where one may find an employee affecting the performance of others especially if he or she is loud enough to be heard by everyone else. The other disadvantage is that employee’s property and work are not protected because the room is common to all hence there are high chances of loss of items. However, these offices are appropriate because they enhance close monitoring of the employees which helps to maximize production

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The closed offices are appropriate because they enhance concentration on one’s work because disruptions are limited. The other advantage of closed offices is privacy. This is because employees can lock their office, which means that no one can interfere with their work and properties. The disadvantage of closed offices is that an employee can carry out activities that are not related to work which is not healthy for the performance of the organization at large

3. Explain if Herman’s need to know whether his salespersons are honest is a sufficient ground for utilizing electronic surveillance

Herman has a right to know whether his salesmen are honest or not because it is an important value in the workplace. Norman (2009), argues that honesty and work are inseparable values, but most people tend to formulate their standards of honesty in the workplace and with other people which depends on their circumstances. However, the use of electronic surveillance is a sign of lack of trust for the employees. Herman should show the employees that he has faith and trust in them. He should,therefore, focus on assessing the performance of individuals which is likely to reflect their honesty or not. Herman should also identify other methods of monitoring the performance of the employees such as employing supervisors instead of using the electronic surveillance which is expensive.

4. Explain if Herman’s need to know whether his salespersons are honest is a sufficient ground for utilizing electronic surveillance

Employees can use electronic surveillance to monitor employees, but they cannot monitor them to the maximum. This is because there are other ways that employees can identify to communicate or maintain conversations with other people. An example of this is the use of short messages; which are sent via cell phone. Although some employees restrict the use of cell phones at the workplaces, employees still use them because they are smarter than employers. This means that they use of electronic surveillance is not a hundred percent accurate because employees try to come up with coping strategies.

5. Explain to what extent the inclusion of innocent, unaware third-parties in such surveillance determine whether it is legal

The inclusion of third parties in such surveillance is not acceptable and it does not determine whether it is legal or not. This is because third parties can harass the employees unknowingly which is illegal. According to Achampong (1999), third parties harassment litigation are likely to raise several potential problems. The author further explains that employees relate to what actions an employer should take whether the employer, the monitoring system or supervisors observe conduct that may be actionable. The use of electronic surveillance can be illegal if it is against the Federal privacy laws. The law states that it is illegal for one to use this monitoring system without authorization, which means that third parties cannot determine if the use of the electronic surveillance is legal because there are certain laws that have been set concerning its use.

In conclusion, employers should note that the use of electronic surveillance to monitor the performance of employees involves fundamental privacy concerns. Monitoring what the employees do and their conversations create a relation gap between the employer and employees. This is because the employees feel that the employer does not trust them which is not suitable for the employees. According to Ford, Notestine, Hill, American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section (2000), an employer may limit exposure to liabilities for any of the causes of actions regarding personal information by establishing procedures for responding to third party enquiries. This can be done by directing all inquiries to a personal department which is better off than using electronic surveillance to monitor employees.

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